My Story

From as far back as I can remember I used to love learning how to knit, crochet and sew with my Mum and Nan. I think that’s where my love of textiles began and it continued through school and all the way to university where I passed my BA hons textiles and surface design degree with first class honours. 

 

After university my sewing skills were locked away for a while as I moved into Visual Merchandising, using my creative skills to produce inspirational displays. I spent 8 years in John Lewis and 3 years in IKEA. I honestly loved my job but the large retail brands and rat race lifestyle just wasn’t for me. I longed for a slower, simpler lifestyle.

 

In 2018, Blue Planet 2 aired and Sir David Attenborough brought to light the reality of plastic pollution. Having always been a nature lover, the effects our throw away culture had had on our beautiful planet hit me hard and I wanted to do something about it. After a little digging, I came across a challenge called “Plastic Free July”. The aim was to go through the month of July avoiding single use plastic. Two things I used regularly at the time were throw away face wipes and those horrible flimsy plastic produce bags that you find in the supermarket. This was the turning point of where those sewing skills came back out to play. I made my own reusable face pads and produce bags using organic cotton and told my friends what I had done. They loved them! It was then that the Cotton Lily seed was sewn and my website was launched a few months later with a wide range of handmade plastic-free reusables, that I continue to add to today. 

 

In 2020 the pandemic hit and the world went into lockdown. Do you remember that image of China’s skies actually turning blue for the first time in decades when it was forced to close its mass production lines? I certainly do and it was a glimpse of what we could all do to restore this planet if we just made more conscious choices of where we spend our money. This triggered another branch to Cotton Lily. Beautiful home decor that celebrates the art of handmade. This side of Cotton Lily didn’t come to fruition as not long into the lockdown my own journey took an unexpected turn. My long term relationship came to a very sudden end leading me to sell my cottage in Bedfordshire and relocate to Somerset to be near my family. This is where I met my true soul mate. My Somerset Beau. We clicked instantly and both yearned for the same things. To live a slower, simpler lifestyle.  Off-grid and consciously. We looked at different ways of doing this. Static caravans, camper vans, shepherds huts but the costs were too high and the laws were a minefield to navigate. We then watched an episode of George Clarke's Amazing Spaces that featured a dutch barge renovation. We turned to each other and said “shall we?'' That was it, the search for a narrowboat began. 

 

We now live off-grid on our 65ft narrowboat, “Lily Gurl”. Continuously cruisng the west end of the Kennet and Avon canal with a floating Cotton Lily shop full of handmade plastic-free reusables and that handmade home decor branch that was left dormant?; well thats now in bloom with macrame, copper art and much more to come.

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